Russian Federation: controversial trial of Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko opens

Ukraine and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accuse Russia of providing pro-Russian separatists with arms and troops in support of a rebellion in which almost 8,000 have been killed since it broke out in eastern regions in the spring of 2014, after the fall of Kiev’s pro-Moscow president to a popular uprising.


The trial has provoked global criticism, as well as claims the charges have been fabricated for political reasons.

Ukraine’s agricultural exports to China have increased to nearly 1 billion USA dollars in January-July 2015 from 407 million dollars in the same period past year, Ukrainian Agriculture Minister Olexiy Pavlenko said here Thursday. She has been in detention for more than a year and spent more than 80 days on hunger strike in custody.

“Everyone in this room understands very well this is not a case, it’s a piece of rubbish”, the defiant pilot said in her opening remarks to the court.

Savchenko is standing trial in the small southern Russian town of Donetsk, on the border with conflict-torn Ukraine, in a move her defence says is aimed at shielding the proceedings from the public eye. We’ll sit down with Jaresko, back in her hometown, to talk about her journey from suburban Chicago to becoming one of the most powerful technocrats in Eastern Europe, tasked with pulling Ukraine out of economic catastrophe. “I have never in my life shot at unarmed people“.

Journalists have been barred from the courtroom.

Irina Voloshina, Voloshin’s widow, testified via videolink, but could offer little detail about whether her husband took the proper safety precautions. It is also a matter of principle: “Russian Federation did not allow for the possibility of repayment by instalments either during the talks on granting the loan or at any later stage”, he said.

It is widely expected that a guilty verdict will be delivered. His alleged accomplice, activist Alexander Kolchenko, was sentenced to 10 years.

The journalist bans attracted criticism from Johannes Hahn, the European Union’s commissioner in charge of enlargement.

And US Secretary of State John Kerry said today that Russia’s military support for the Syrian dictator could raise the risk of confrontation with coalition forces fighting Islamic State there.


The prosecution said her presence as a volunteer in eastern Ukraine was motivated by “hatred and hostility towards … the civilian population of Luhansk region”.

A monitor at a court's press room shows Ukrainian air force helicopter pilot Nadia Savchenko